Doobie Brothers Smokin’ at Thunder Valley

The Doobie Brothers performed at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort to a sold-out crowd Friday night.

For those of you who don’t know the Doobie Brothers, they are rock group who formed in the ‘70s and were originally called Pud. Yes, I said Pud. One can only thank the heavens they decided to change their name to the Doobie Brothers. And yes, the name comes from that stuff referred to as pot. When smoked it’s also referred to as a joint, reefer, stick, roach, or a doobie.

Hey, can you spare a doobie, brother? I know. I crack myself up, too.

Opening with “Jesus Is Just Alright,” the eight-man band consisting of two drummers, three guitarists, bassist, saxophonist and keyboardist, kicked it into high gear from the very start. During their performance there were a lot of guitar changes, sometimes several per song. The guitars included four that were set up on their own stands, waiting for those magical fingers of Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, John McFee and John Cowan.

As the sun made its way down, all the phones and cameras in the crowd were reminiscent of those late-night concerts with everyone holding up their lighters, paying homage to the band. The band got plenty of coverage with all those lights shining in the night.

Toward the middle of the set, the band played a couple of songs off their new album, “World Gone Crazy,” including “Far from Home.” Up to this point, the majority of the crowd had been on their feet. “Far from Home” had everyone sitting down, relaxing to a very mellow soulful sound that was both touching and inspiring. You can hear the band’s maturity both emotionally and musically in the song, as well as others from their new album. It’s obvious these guys are comfortable with who they are.

When they played “Back to the Chateau,” also from their new album, the audience was back on their feet, fists pumping and bodies shaking. The song is a reminder of the Doobie Brothers of yesterday, with a driving beat and pure rock ‘n’ roll. As I was watching the crowd’s reaction, I realized it was a great mix of young and old. There was a young, fully tattooed guy with his fists up in the air, shaking his body, while right next to him was an older, gray-haired guy with his fists up in the air, shaking his body. It’s obvious the music of the Doobie Brothers has transcended a generation — or two.

When the band started “Black Water,” the crowd immediately joined in. Everyone was singing, including bartenders, security personnel and ushers. However, the band abruptly stopped and told security to back away from the stage and let people dance. Johnston kept on security until they moved away from the front of the stage and let people up to the front.

To anyone who didn’t make it out to the concert and thought to themselves, not interested in listening to some old, boring Southern-style rock band, you made a huge mistake. Don’t make the same mistake next time.

Thunder Valley Casino and Resort has both an amphitheater and an indoor stage, bringing the area a wide variety of talent from around the world. Their outdoor concert series is in full swing, with scheduled appearances by Huey Lewis, Gabriel Iglesias, Hall and Oates, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more.

Each Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., you can now party poolside with music, drink specials, giveaways and contests. You can purchase tickets at Thunder Valley or online.

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August 8, 2011 | 11:10 AM

While initially somewhat funny and entertaining that Johnston and Simmons wanted security to back off, it created an unfortunate situation for many in the audience. The audience suddenly felt entitled to go wherever they wanted, though security staff wouldn’t permit it. As a result, people bunched into all aisles and crowded those that were fortunate enough to have purchases good seats. The last several songs were borderline mayhem in some sections of the amphitheater. Whether the Doobie Bros, Thunder Valley or poor crowd manners were to blame, it was a shame that such a great concert was marred. Otherwise, a stellar event!

August 8, 2011 | 4:50 PM

I agree. I was surprised the band kept telling the security to back off. They were basically empowering everyone to crowd up to the front. I was watching security do their best, but when you have that many people heading to the front with the bands support, they could only stand back and jump in if things got too far out of hand. Luckily they always have a line of sheriff officers standing by.

I felt bad for all the people who were just trying to watch the concert from their seats. It was very difficult to do with everyone rushing the stage.

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